In April, General Electric (NYSE:GE) opened its patent vault to Quirky — a crowd-sourcing company headquartered in New York City that brings products to the marketplace via the interaction between the global community and Quirky’s product design staff. Now, the first four products created under the partnership between GE and Quirky have been unveiled under the joint Wink brand.
“For years patents have become widely misunderstood and misused,” Quirky founder and CEO Ben Kaufman said. “We are going to return patents to their original purpose to act as a blueprint for technological and societal progress while protecting inventors and becoming a source of inspiration for future creators.”
The first four Wink products focus on connecting consumer goods in what GE calls the “Industrial Internet.” As Kaufman explains: “Our future will be driven by access to things via our smartphones there is a ton of invention to be done in this area and no one owns this category.”
Once you look at the results of GE and Quirky’s work, you might be inclined to agree. Featuring a variety of everyday devices that interact with a user’s a smartphone and other devices, you can see why GE and Quirky believe that smartphone technology is ready to invade the home in a big way — although the prices will likely keep adoption slow in the early goings.
Check out some of the new gadgets after the jump.
1. Nimbus ($129.99)
Nimbus is a desktop dashboard that consists of four LED dial faces that can be configured to display information ranging from the number of unread emails to the time. Invented by Ryan Pendleton, Nimbus constantly updates in real time and also functions as an alarm.
2. Egg Minder ($69.99)
From inventor Rafael I Hwang, the Egg Minder is a device that holds up to fourteen eggs and tracks the freshness of eggs by monitoring when an egg is added or removed to one of the holding positions. The Egg Minder then sends information to your smartphone or other devices about the status of your eggs, including whether one is likely to go bad or if you’re close to running out.
3. Pivot Power Genius ($79.99)
The Pivot Power Genius was invented by Jake Zien and is a power strip that can bend to accommodate bulky power adapters that often take up two or more spots on standard power strips. Using an app, users can independently control each individual outlet on the power strip and can even add a timer function to each individual outlet. On top of the four standard outlets on the strip, the Pivot Power Genius also includes one high-power USB outlet.
4. Spotter ($49.99)
The Spotter is a sensor pack powered by two AA batteries that measures temperature, humidity, vibration, light, and sound. Once the device is set in a room, it can send the information directly to your mobile device. The Spotter was invented by Denny Fong.
While consumers may not be coming out in droves to get their hands on these devices, this is a clear sign that GE is thinking about the future of the appliance industry and has no lack of creativity backing it up. As the world of technology evolves and becomes smarter, don’t expect GE to be left behind.